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Struggling To Feed Your Baby? Check Out Breastfeeding Tips For New Mothers

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Introduction

Only a mother can describe the euphoria in the smallest of pregnancy moments like hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time, experiencing that first kick or finally holding that little angel in your arms. According to a study that employed the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire Short-Form (OHQ-SF) and personal information, the pregnant women included in the research were found to have higher levels of happiness during pregnancy, especially in the second trimester. 


Skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth is the highlight of post-pregnancy happiness as it triggers a strong hormonal response. Hence, the first few days of early motherhood can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to starting the breastfeeding practice. It’s a misguided opinion that breastfeeding should come naturally to a mother when it’s actually like any new skill that requires time, practice and patience. 

In this blog, we will explore the best breastfeeding tips including the necessary diet for breastfeeding mothers, the benefits of breastfeeding and the breastfeeding positions you can try if you’re struggling to feed your baby.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breast milk is the perfect food for your baby’s growth, its benefits lasting right into adulthood. Here’s a list of top advantages of breastfeeding for your baby and you. 

For your baby

  • For the first six months of life, the only nutrition a baby needs is the mother’s breast milk.
  • Benefits baby’s immune system, growth and development
  • Helps reduce your baby’s risk of gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.
  • Prevents ear and chest infections, allergies, diabetes and other medical conditions.
  • Lowers the risk of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI) including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

”‹For you

  • Breastfeeding lowers your risk of bleeding after birth.
  • Combats obesity.
  • Breastfeeding lowers the risk of developing ovarian and breast cancer.
  • Lower risk of osteoporosis (weak bones).

Lastly, the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby and mother aren’t just physiological. The emotional connection established by breastfeeding between the baby and the mother is profound and deeply satisfying. 

How to Breastfeed your Baby?

If you are struggling to breastfeed, you can try using the following breastfeeding positions recommended by The Royal Women’s Hospital, Australia. 

  1. Sitting comfortably, keeping your baby well supported.
  2. Position your baby on their side, facing your chest with their nose opposite your nipple.
  3. Support your breast from underneath and continue doing so until your baby is sucking and swallowing in a deep rhythmic pattern.
  4. Position your fingers well back from the areola/nipple so your baby can take a big mouthful of breast tissue.
  5. Encourage your baby to open their mouth wide (like yawning), by touching your baby’s lips to the breast, chin first.
  6. Attach your nipple to the baby’s bottom lip, well down over the areola, ‘off centre’.
  7. If you experience pain when the baby starts swallowing, pull out the nipple from the baby’s mouth and re-attach.
  8. Remember to insert a clean finger between the baby’s gums to break the seal when you pull out the nipple from the baby’s mouth. 

You can also consult your or a lactation consultant if you are struggling to stimulate the milk or worry if the baby is feeding well, they can show you in person the best breastfeeding positions newborns are most comfortable with and how to switch different breastfeeding positions over time. 

Also Read: Best Foods & Recipes That May Boost Lactation In Nursing Women

Latching Problems

Latching problems are quite common. A baby is often unable to latch on to the nipple. This can happen because-

  • Your posture is wrong, you may be hunching over the baby
  • The baby’s body is not properly aligned
  • The baby is fussy
  • Inverted or flat nipples or nipples that are too large

For a problem like inverted or flat nipples, you have to consult with a doctor. You will have t use special breast pumps to make the nipples protrude. Mothers with large nipples can opt for nipple shields which make it easier for the baby to take the nipple in his/her mouth.

The other problems are easier to remediate. For example, the trial and error method and a bit of guidance will teach you how to line up your child’s body with your own so that the baby can latch on easily. 

Swaddling a baby and humming can quieten a fussy baby. Pouring a few drops of breast milk onto the nipple will also encourage a hungry baby to latch on. 

Also Read: Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding: A Comprehensive Mother’s Guide

Final Thoughts

For the first few days after the birth, the first milk, also known as colostrum, is highly nutritious and contains antibodies that protect your newborn baby against a range of allergies, infections and other medical conditions. By about two weeks the breast fluid becomes whiter and thinner, changing from colostrum to mature milk.

Initially, you need to feed your baby every seven to twelve times in 24 hours. The more frequently your breasts get empty, either by breastfeeding or expressing, the higher your milk production gets. In case you are unable to breastfeed, talk to your partner and choose a formula that will provide the most nutrition for your baby to grow well.

Finally, breastfeeding requires extra calories, so if the diet for breastfeeding mothers isn’t nutritious, it can affect the baby’s needs at every stage of development. The flavours in your diet will come in your milk and may change the colour of your milk. Try keeping a food diary during the breastfeeding period to see how the baby responds to different foods you eat. During lactation, mothers should stay away from self-medication, herbal or ayurvedic supplements unless prescribed by a doctor.

Also Read: Best Guide To Breast Pumping For New Mothers

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

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